You’ll never find a college basketball player who relishes the thought of spending a season on the bench. Injuries and coaches decisions will often put a young player out of commission for a season, however. It’s up to the redshirtee to get the most he can out of the experience.
Creighton’s redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden, a 6-2 guard from Minnesota, is “biting the bit,” as he told the Omaha World-Herald, to get on the floor after sitting out his first season as a Blue Jay.
Zierden does acknowledge the wisdom shown by head coach Greg McDermott in sitting him for a year, however.
Zierden said the redshirt season allowed him to adjust to the speed of the college game.
“The game just slowed down,” he said. “Last year, during summer workouts and during training camp, it seemed like everything was just going a million miles per hour. Things have just slowed down.
“I have time to read the pick-and-rolls and that kind of stuff. That’s the biggest thing.”
The other important benefit, and it will be crucial as the Bluejays move into the Big East, is the time Zierden spent improving his strength. The redshirt freshman admitted that he looked like “a twig” at the beginning of last season. Strength and conditioning coach Dan Bailey showed Zierden a photo taken last season and the player barely recognized himself.
Intelligent use of reshirt seasons is one of the hidden tasks a top-notch college coach must tackle. Sounds like McDermott thought ahead when it came to preparing his team for the big realignment move.